Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2021  Vol. 20  No. 1
 print preview

The Vote [. . . a white man's party]
The Crisis, November 1921

In the Call of New York, we read:

We have had occasion the past year or two to call attention to the changing political conditions of the South as a result of the increasing importance of capitalist production in that section. We have pointed out that the Republican party has been gradually dumping its Negro traditions to win the support of the southern oligarchy. Today the views of the party as formulated by Lincoln, Sumner and Seward have been practically repudiated. If these men were to return today they would find a rapidly increasing coalition of the Republican party with the southern ruling class and that the terms of the coalition are the sacrifice of the Negro. Over his prostrate body the ruling classes of two sections make peace.

A dispatch to the Evening Post from Richmond, Va., shows that the bargain is being consummated. It is agreed by the Republicans of that state that they are to be a “white man's party.” More significant still is the statement: “It is understood that this innovation meets with entire approval at Washington.” This means that the bargain with southern Democrats has the approval of the national Republican leaders. Negro Republicans were barred from the Republican Club of Richmond by the police when they sought to participate in the election of delegates to the state convention.

“In exchange for the loss of its Negro auxiliaries,” we read, “the Republicans in Virginia have gained the support of many men of influence and wealth.” Among these are railroad presidents, bankers, capitalists and business men of Richmond, Norfolk, Lynchburg and other cities. In short, the Republican aggregation is admitted to be a consolidation of capitalist wealth and power. It is to maintain an unwritten agreement with the Democratic party for the complete exclusion of the Negro from elections. The agreement frees the ruling class of Virginia from dependence upon one political machine.

One congressional district has been carried by the Republicans for a number of years and the Republican vote has been growing in other districts. The Republican national committee has already taken steps to eliminate the Negro from its councils and Republican conventions with the expectation that a “lily white” Republican party will increase in power in the South.

All this follows the marked economic changes of the last half century which are slowly transforming the South into an image of the capitalist North. It indicates the sweep of capitalist production to the Gulf. The old political traditions of Lincoln and other early leaders of the Republican party are being abandoned and the bargain consists of the complete social, economic and political degradation of the Negro workers of the South. It also carries with it a similar degradation for many hundreds of thousands of white workers who are excluded from the franchise by various exception laws.

The last semblance of difference between both political parties in national politics is being wiped out. Capitalism is national and its parties at last become national in scope. The Negro Republican leaders who have led masses of Negroes to their betrayal are themselves being kicked in the face for their treachery. A final chapter in the orientation of the two-party machine of capitalism is being written for the instruction of the working class of all colors and degrees of economic servitude.  end

return to top